Truk Lagoon ghost fleet has many human remains found by scuba divers which highlights what happened in 1944
You’d be hard pushed not to be moved by seeing the human remains at Truk Lagoon. These human remains form a part of the history for this area and of what happened at Truk Lagoon. But remember these Truk Lagoon human remains serve as a symbol for scuba divers to treat each dive site with respect.
Truk Lagoon human remains include human skulls, leg bones and rib bones. Human remains can be found on three of the 48 Truk or Chuuk Lagoon wrecks including Oike, Shinkoko Maru and Yamagiri wrecks. These are what’s left of over 4,500 human lives lost at Truk Lagoon during Operation Hailstone in 1944.
Truk Lagoon ghostly human remains
The first wreck to note which contains some of the Truk Lagoon human remains is Yamagiri wreck. On the Yamagiri wreck the human remains include human skulls and leg bones.
In the image below you’ll see the remains of a human skull wedged between metal parts of the ship. One can only be left wondering how this Japanese sailor died.
Another wreck where you’ll find human remains from the people who died during the attack on Truk Lagoon by the American Forces, is on the Oite Wreck.
There were nearly 700 crew on the Oike when it was sunk by Avenger Torpedo bombers on 18th February 1944. The human remains, as seen in the image below is of just one of these 700 who didn’t survive this attack. In fact, there were only a few survivors out of the crew.
If you believe in ghosts, then you may also begin to wonder whether Truk Lagoon, or what is now known as Chuuk Lagoon since 1990, is haunted.
How many died during Operation Hailstone at Truk Lagoon?
During Operation Hailstone the American forces:
- Sunk 53 Japanese ships.
- Destroyed over 350 planes.
- Killed over 4,500 Japanese soldiers and naval sailors.
This makes Truk Lagoon World War II’s most haunted undersea graveyard.
Truk Lagoon was where the majority of Japanese naval fleet were stationed. This made it the number one target for US forces to attack.
Operation Hailstone was took place over 36 hours and left the Japanese naval fleet in tatters.
What happened there has created a wreck divers Mecca, as detailed in my article on what happened at Truk Lagoon.
Truk Lagoon dive liveaboards table
This list of Truk Lagoon liveaboards is in descending customer rating order, followed by Scuba Diving Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating, see below), so the liveaboards with the highest customer rating and the best SDE lux rating will be at the top of the list. If you want to change the list order, use the “Sort by” dropdown below.
|Liveaboard main photo||Discover Liveaboard||Customer Review Rating Out of 10||SDE Lux Rating %||Flexible Booking||Dive Courses||Dietary Requirements||Nitrox||Gear Rental|
|Review Link: SS Thorfinn; Booking Link: SS Thorfinn||8.8||88||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review Link: MV Truk Master; Booking Link: MV Truk Master||7.9||65||YES||NO||YES||YES||YES|
The Scuba Diving Earth Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating) is explained on each liveaboard review when you click the “Discover Liveaboard” link, and is my own Liveaboard Luxury Rating I’ve assigned to all liveaboards. Choosing between liveaboards is helped by customer scores, and if you get stuck choosing between two or three liveaboards, where each one has a high customer score out of 10, you can use the SDE Luxury Rating to help narrow down your choice.
Think about it like using Booking.com when searching for the best hotel. Booking.com also use a customer score where each customer rates hotels out of 10. This is similar to the liveaboard customer rating, which is also rated out of 10. But let’s say you only like to stay in hotels rated 8 and above on Booking.com, but you also want the hotel to have WIFI or parking, or to have a swimming pool etc. The features each hotel has is usually secondary to the score out of 10.
The first-time discovery of human remains of Truk Lagoon
The first time that these human remains were discovered at Truk Lagoon was in 1969. A documentary was made of the ship wrecks by Jacques Cousteau and Philippe Cousteau in 1969.
Philippe Cousteau was shocked when he finds the human remains. He first discovered many Japanese naval crew in the holds of the last wreck they dived.
To see the amazing footage when he first discovers the skulls and bones of those that perished during Operation Hailstone, please watch the video below.
Video of Truk Lagoon human remains when first discovered
Please feel free to watch the whole video. Although I’ve set it to begin at the section of the video when the human remains were first discovered.
To see the location of the wrecks of Truk Lagoon on a map, please follow this link to: Truk Lagoon wreck map.
How long do human remains last in the ocean?
Any of the human bodies outside of the wrecks at Truk Lagoon would probably have floated to the surface after three or four days. This will have exposed them to scavenging sea creatures which in Truk Lagoon would include sea birds and sharks. These sea creatures would have dismembered the Japanese corpses in a week or two and the bones would sink to the seabed.
Any of the human remains trapped inside the wrecks would have decomposed by purification. But there would also be bottom dwelling scavengers too like the porcelain crab and lysianassidae, which are small shrimp-like creatures that would have scavenged on the dead bodies too.
“However we’ve found that in highly oxygenated deeper water, it can be expected that such a body would be skeletonized in less than four days, although bones could be recovered for six months or more. How quickly you decompose also depends on the time of year.”SFU criminologist Gail Anderson – Science Dailey New details emerge on deep sea, marine-submerged bodies
How long does it take for bones to decompose in the ocean?
Once a human body has been skeletonized after the scavenging animals have removed the fleshy parts, the bones may undergo fossilization in salty sea water. Fossilization is when the bones are converted into minerals. This means the bones may last indefinitely at Truk Lagoon.
I hope you enjoyed this article about Truk Lagoon human remains
I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!
If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about Truk Lagoon human remains), please comment below with your questions.
There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.
Have fun and be safe!